The Nevada State Engineer will hold a hearing, starting on September 11, concerning the applications by Southern Nevada Water Authority for water literally under Rural Nevadans' feet. As you might have expected, there have been a number of protests.
SNWA could have openly faced these protests at the hearing, and stated their case as fairly as possible. But that wasn't what they wanted to do. SNWA has tried to dismiss all of the protests before the hearing ever happens.
SNWA tried to dismiss protests by:
the National Park Service, who protested that they have water rights in the Great Basin National Park.
the Fish and Wildlife Service, who protested that four National Wildlife Refuges would be endangered.
the Sierra Club, who protested that potential National Wilderness Areas would be affected.
White Pine County, who protested that they have previously filed applications.
the Ely Shoshone Tribe, who protested that the Treaty of Ruby Valley would be broken.
That's right, it doesn't matter who you are, SNWA doesn't want you to speak at the hearing. SNWA also doesn't want you mentioning a few particular subjects. Here's one:
“VIII. B1 and B2. The Applicant moves to dismiss or limit the State Engineer's review of any protest claim that addresses whether the proposed transfer is environmentally sound.” That's right, even though SNWA has told us over and over again that they care so much about the environment, they tried to entirely dismiss the subject in the State Engineer's hearing. They didn't even want him to be able to consider the environment! Fortunately, their request to dismiss the protest was denied.
SNWA also moved to dismiss protests that taking the water:
would create dust bowls and negatively impact air quality
would impair water quality
that there is insufficient information to determine potential impacts
that the proposed appropriations will reduce groundwater levels
that the approval of the Applications would sanction water mining
that granting the Applications will destroy scenic and recreational values
All of these efforts to dismiss protests were denied – and rightfully so.
When asked about their tactics, a representative from SNWA said that they were just “covering all their bases.”... Covering all their bases??? Pardon me, but I would call it pulling every dirty trick in the book.
(Sadly, the State Engineer had to dismiss the protest that approval of the Applications will encourage willful waste and inefficient use of water... which of course, it would.)
Stay tuned. The drama and intrigue will continue.